amn32, I felt the same way when I lived here a couple years ago, and needed to leave. I promised myself I'd never return, since I felt like a ghost of my former self. All my creativity, desire and hope vanished and I had no inspiration to rely on. So, I left. A year and a half later I returned and feel completely different. I realize now that whatever I was missing was not taken away from me by Korea or Koreans, as I thought was the case. Instead, I feel, it was me who basically mutilated myself creatively and wasn't able to see past my own depression. Sometimes going away for a couple months, or even years, refreshes you, and teaches that it's all inside you, not outside, that needs to be worked on. Now, I feel I can be myself, because I no longer really care whether people here think I'm crazy. I no longer care whether people stare at me while I dance on the subway platform, listening to my favourite music. I no longer feel I need to pretend to be happy to my co-workers when something is wrong. I paint and write for myself, or if I want an opinion, I send something to friends at home or the few friends I have here. I wear what I want, and I eat what I want. There's a level of shame and guilt when we feel we can't be ourselves, as if what we are is abnormal and perverse. Actually, maybe that is what we truly are, each individual, yet, some of us, at some point in our lives, lose all sense of spontaneity and individualism and we become a number. When I started dating in Korea, I was told that I should change this or that about myself because Korean people might not agree with it, or it might be too strange for them. When I listened to this awful advice I became depressed. Now I know better. Be yourself and you will attract people who are interested in what you have to say. Sure, maybe you won't be Mr. or Ms. Popular, but you'll have substance.